The organizers of the Tokyo Olympic Games reiterated their message at the beginning of two days of meetings with the International Olympic Committee that the 2020 Games will not be affected by the virus that is spreading from neighboring China.
Tokyo Olympic Games logo. (Reuters photo)
- WHO told the IOC that there is no case to cancel or relocate the Tokyo 2020 Olympics
- The coronavirus has caused the cancellation of some international sporting events.
- Tokyo Olympics, the 17-day event will begin on July 24
The World Health Organization has told the International Olympic Committee that there is no case to cancel or relocate the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games because of the coronavirus outbreak, the head of the IOC Coordination Commission said on Friday.
The 17-day event will begin on July 24. Japan said separately on Friday that it will intensify testing and containment after reporting its first death from coronavirus and confirming new cases, including a doctor and a taxi driver.
John Coates said the advice that the IOC had received "externally" from WHO was that "there is no case for any contingency plan to cancel the Games or move the Games."
The propagation outbreak, whose epicenter is the Chinese city of Wuhan, has caused the cancellation of some international sporting events, as well as the qualifying competitions of the 2020 Games for boxing and badminton to be held in China.
Coates said coordination between the virus working group of the organizing committee of Japan and other national authorities strengthened the IOC's confidence that the situation was being adequately addressed.
That raised expectations that "we can ensure that the Games run safely for athletes and spectators," Coates said at a press conference organized together with the president of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, Yoshiro Mori.
Mori echoed Coates' guarantees.
Toshiro Muto, CEO of the Tokyo 2020 organizing committee, said in early February that he was "seriously concerned" that the virus could impact the momentum towards the Games, but promised the next day that the event would continue as planned.
More than 60,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in mainland China and almost 450 in 24 other countries and territories, including 33 in Japan and another 218 on a quarantine cruise in a Japanese port.
Coates said he was impressed with how China had been able to monitor its athletes "from day one," and that most had been preparing for the Games abroad and, therefore, would not need to be quarantined. Upon arrival in Japan.